Hey

Hey

I know we haven’t seen each other in a while
But it’s not like I miss you

It’s just that I saw the stars tonight
And they whispered to me your secrets

Sticky secrets with flimsy limbs
Grasping at my hair and hands and happiness

Like chewing gum
Smacking against your teeth

Not that I miss you, but I just want to
Climb into your skin

Suckle on your bones
Like a starving infant

Until they’re dry and cracked to dreadful dust
Leaving your awkward, unworthy flesh behind

I’d gather it up, your flesh
Folded neatly like a linen shirt — skin smoothened to neat pleats

I’d hide it in my trunk
With our forgotten dreams and all the dead things we left behind

I’d keep it
Only for a while

Only for a day
Perhaps for a night

Then I’d toss it out the window
Like a carefree little vixen

Laughing and self-loathing
What a modern woman I’d be

Lonely and occupied and cautious and free
Sometimes melancholy, sometimes a little blue

But, hey
It’s not like I miss you

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Fractured

Something broken,
collapsed,
and swallowed whole

into the earth that birthed my wayward pneuma;
the old thing —
cracked, jagged, and charcoal.

Thought and desire war, squirming under my skin;
weird, voluminous, wrong.
I feel incomplete, un-whole.

And then, she’s there – a sharp, devastating ache.
She’s  a tempest —
a sense of chaos, madness, the curling of toes.

Hot and uncomfortable as noon I lay here,
under this flimsy skin,
fostering hideousness and hope.

Hit by an edge of defiant anathema every now and then;
it rots with me —
shameful, ugly, vacant, and cold.

If her skin crawled up to me,
we’d collide —
hands, lips, hearts, and throats.

With heavy breaths and a quivering consciousness,
our senses fractured and dissovled,
we’d slip under the earth – soil and petrichor.


[Featured Image: Heitor Magno]

To Conor Oberst – At the Bottom of Everything

While my mother waters plants,
My father loads his guns.
He says, "Death will give us back to God,
Just like the setting sun, returns to the lonesome ocean."

- "At the Bottom of Everything" by Bright Eyes

Dear Conor,

I read this somewhere, I remember now. They said your music was for girls with choppy neon hair that sat in bars reading Kerouac and smoking clove cigarettes. The kind of girls you’d read about in a Murakami novel. Quirky girls.

Alas, to my fourteen year old self’s dismay, I was abysmally ordinary. Bored and impressionable, but perspicacious in the way that most unassuming adolescents are. And yet, I found Fevers and Mirrors, an auricular anthology documenting your undiluted anguish. I was thrilled to the bone. Addicted to your pain.

The songs weren’t pretty. They didn’t have gratifying nuances or prolific filigree. But they reached the cold vacuum in my chest nonetheless, possessing me.

And so began the affair – un-romantic, but not loveless. Naked, fierce, and easy.

Through hate and humiliation and poetry, you taught me that there was beauty in insignificance, in pain, in desperacy. An intrinsic sense of understanding settled in my belly, consuming lyrics, metaphors, and melodies.

Sometimes, if I paused for too long,
breathing and bathing in your craft mid-song,
it devastated me.

Dear Conor,
at the very bottom of everything,

I don’t know if I love your music anymore, but it doesn’t matter, does it? Either way,
it’s a part of my being.

Love,
No One

Disappear

“What if I disappear?”
She asks,
Her voice a deteriorating whisper.

“I’ll come find you,”
I say easily,
Expecting a flippant laugh or a snort or even kisses sweet.

But she says nothing.

We lay there,
Vacant and immobile.

We don’t speak;
We unravel silently,
Decomposing, un-being.

White sheets cradle our bones,
As her white hands cradle my heart.

The truth is,
I fear.

She was a shadow of a person.
I filled her with love and life and grand ideas of the future,
But the cavity in her mind was a pitless abyss.

She could disappear now,
This very second,
And I would remain,
With not a single ort of her existence,
To ease my way.

So we lay there,
Still as corpses or trees.

Barefoot and cold,
In an unspoken reverie.

[Featured image: Silvia Grav]

Synaesthetic Release

With salt in her hair and sun in her pores,
she looks at me.

A cigarette rots on her lips —
clove or cardimom or something equally chichi.

It doesn’t matter either way,
her breath smells like defeat.

“It’s a beautiful day,” she says,
shifting in the car seat.

Yes, it’s a beautiful day,
but it’s an ugly city.

“Try not to kill us before we get there,”
smoke drifts into my lungs, greeting the tenebrosity.

I picture her insides splattered on the asphalt;
it both calms and distracts me.

I pull into the garage and we stumble out,
synchronized in movement, if not in thought, at least.

We enter a house that’s not quite yet a home,
and she sheds her clothes as I pluck and assemble my insecurities.

Within heartbeats,
we’re ready.

The room reeks of sweat and smoke and heat,
as I cram my grotesque past down her throat incessantly.

She suffers; I ache.
We both bleed.

We move in congruence —
like a well-oiled machine.

I bend her until she breaks,
oil leaking out of her eyes, nails, and being.

As our sweat turns stale and our brains to putty,
we lie there breathing, in a pool of our own debris.

[Featured image via: Silvia Grav]

Dirty

We both sweat
like weeping candles
lit and left forgotten for hours

Our flames burn high and bright
our pores sob
in the strange tongue of desire that our mouths are too busy to speak

“You’re so dirty,” he says
his breath hot and wet at the back of my neck
his palms rough and greedy at the curve of my hip

His words drift in the thick air around us
hovering
until they reach me

I hear his voice
it echoes in the movement of my blood
settles in my bones

I want to scream

I loved him with everything I knew and everything I didn’t
love leaked out of my pores
and onto the clothes I would soon shed for him.

Because I wanted him close
close enough to feel it cracking my bones and shattering the paradigm of my thoughts cataclysmically
the way it always did

But there he stood
embracing me
while he made love to a notion fed to him by an ecclesiastical spoon known for ladling deceit

Take me from behind
take me in the earth
WHY TAKE ME AT ALL
if I’m dirty?

I loved him with abandon
almost to a fault
so despite myself
I let him paint on me his filth
make me dirty

[Featured image via: Cesar Biojo]

Surfer Rosa Lover

Her sunglasses were heart-shaped and she had a heart-shaped tattoo. She often used it as a tool, an incentive for those she coveted. Not that they needed an incentive of any sort.

She was lovely. In every way fathomable. My opinion may be biased because I coveted her so. Hot, bothered and heavy with anxiety every time the lace trim of her sleeve teased my elbow.

‘What are you talking about?’ She envelopes her tongue around the piece of gum she placed on the edge of her mouth, making the mundane, meaningless, malarkey gesture seem charming. ‘Broken Face? And need I even mention Where Is My Mind? You on dope, boy? Surfer Rosa is a brilliant embodiment of the deteriorating, hedonistic society we love and hate.’

I loved this. Sometimes I think I contradicted her only to listen to her garrulousness. And garrulousness it was, I knew so even then. It wasn’t the bone-crushing, breath-stealing, brittle and blood-soaked love I much later experienced. It was an all-consuming want. It was an affliction. I knew this.

But I also knew the shape of the side of her waist where her heart-shaped tattoo played hide and seek. The hitch in her breath every now and then, the curling of hair at the back of her neck, the bead of sweat between her breasts. I knew this.

And, unabashed, unrepentant and left with unobscured memories of her breath on my lips, head on my chest, words in head, I knew that some day today, I’d call her with a payphone at the end of the street and we’d collide on the sheets like the first night we did.

She’d know I wouldn’t love her the way I loved my bone-crushing, breath-stealing, brittle and blood-soaked love and in my selfish, sun-soaked, sublime want I’d call her my lover’s name.

So, you see, it really didn’t matter whether she thought Surfer Rosa was a brilliant embodiment of the deteriorating, hedonistic society we love and hate, it didn’t matter if I knew her name, it didn’t matter if she was lovely, it didn’t matter if her sunglasses were heart-shaped and she had a heart-shaped tattoo. It didn’t matter that I was her bone-crushing, breath-stealing, brittle and blood-soaked love.

Congruency

image

‘Walk a straight line to me.’ She said. Yeah, okay. I agreed. A post box might stub my toes or a streetlight split my soul. But say the word, and I’ll walk a straight line right to the shore.

The water washing over my feet the way fear ripples over grief.

‘You see that light at the end? I do too. What are the chances?’ She dances.

We don’t speak after that. I don’t ask her what’s on her mind. She doesn’t ask, ‘Where is your mind?’

I tend to stray, don’t I? Do you mind?

We don’t speak. Together we breathe. Like ghosts, whispers of a symphony.

Until she looks up at me. ‘We won’t speak of love or of lost forevers. Because we don’t do that. You and me,  we are congruent beings. We don’t believe, we make believe.

‘So I’ll say this. Say it like it is. To your eyes and those wrinkles on your forehead you despise. I see you. And I’m grateful you see me.’

And then we melt into the ground like wet sand. We don’t speak. Together, we breathe. Like ghosts, whispers of something extraordinary.

Magic

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Let me set the scene:

It’s loud. Loud enough that you can’t hear the clinking of ice cubes as they’re plunk plunk plunked into the glasses, bathing in the whiskey/vodka/vodka and cranberry.

And it’s crowded. Crowded enough to feel like your thoughts are being interrupted by another’s, the traffic of drunken/rushed/excited thoughts is as thick as the impenetrable queue at the bar.

There is chalk on the table. On every table. They must doodle with it during afternoon brunches, with the summer air and the corny flair of sundresses. They sit ignored now, the pieces of chalk, some are stepped upon, like discarded cigarette butts.

But,

I see them. I see some things, not everything, some things that I bet you don’t.

I say some things, that you bet I should not.

And I listen. I listen to the tap tap of your foot, the squeak of the chalk against the wood, the words that float in and out of your head– unsaid and misunderstood.

I’m a girl. Just one girl. I don’t want to wind you up and bring you down and turn your head around. I’m not that song, the song with those words.

I’m your reflection. I make you smile and make you want to be good.

There are creases on the cuffs of your shirt and chalk dust on your fingers as I take them in my hand.

The noise goes away. The chalks, the voices, the plunk plunk plunk of ice cubes into the glasses, bathing in whiskey/vodka/vodka and cranberry.

 

I smile. Smile in a way, in a voice I know you hear:

‘You say chemistry, I say magic.
Let’s not allow semantics to destroy this moment.’

 

In Between Lives: Epilogue

5th August, 1987.

“And you? What are you?”

Her grin diminishes into that sarcastic half-smile and she shrugs.

“I’m nobody.”

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I have always been in between things. Between names, identities, lives.

I just wasn’t always aware of it.

The tempestuous waves beneath splash on my feet again, the railing is getting too slippery to hold on.

I stand clutching onto the railing of The Blackburn Bridge, clutching onto my life, gazing at the monstrous river beckoning to me—unfriendly but with the promise of oblivion.

I ran away from the hospital, leaving a sleeping Kevin at my bedside.

Kevin. My heart aches.

Which one of us did he like?

Which one of us is me?

I’ve always inhabited the gray area between black and white. Splitting my soul, splitting my mind, splitting my life.

Just Marjorie apologized profusely in the hospital. Kevin told me I was now safe.

They don’t understand. It was never about blame or safety.

The only person who came close to understanding was Emily Dickinson.

I think she knew what it was like to not be afraid of death because you’d already had the life sucked out of you. She knew what it was like to be dead and stuck in the world of living.

I’m like the decaying flower you preserve in notebooks. You can delay my disintegration, but with time, I will wither away, for I truly died long ago.

I tilt my head towards the sky and try to remember my mother. All I can recall is that she was always crying and that she wore the scent of lavender.

Today, I tell myself, today I will fly.

Beatrice Ella Jones was alone.

Beatrice Ella Jones was broken.

Beatrice Ella Jones was me.

I jump.